Busselton Trotting Club stalwart Jack Sheedy died yesterday afternoon just two months short of his 95th birthday. A hobby harness racing trainer and driver in the South West, commencing in the early fifties and finishing in the early seventies, Jack Sheedy won races but he made a far more remarkable contribution to the administration of country harness racing in this State.
Jack was there from the very start of the Busselton Trotting Club in January 1948 as he arrived in the town on 1st January 1948 to take on a bulldozing job.
He got his first horse Sonaria in 1951, a licence to train and drive in 1952 and landed his first winner behind Sonaria at Busselton in 1953. He trained and drove his last winner Brown Mink at Bridgetown in January 1974.
He joined the Busselton Trotting Club in 1950 and right from the outset he filled a variety of roles around the club as a Starter, Judge, Trial Steward, Timekeeper and general handyman. Even when close to his 90th birthday Jack was still on a ladder cleaning the gutters at "his Club".
He took on the job as Secretary in 1974 and retired from that position in 1989 to become the club's Managing Treasurer, a position he held until August 1997 when he retired. Jack's retirement last two months as he re-joined the club's committee in October 1997 and was elected President at the next AGM.
Jack was a Country Delegate to the WA Trotting Association for a number of years and was involved in the steering committee which saw the establishment of the Western Australian Country Trotting Association.
Jack was a South West delegate to the WACTA and served as WACTA President for two years before retiring in 1991 although he continued to represent WACTA on the Spider Fund for a number of years after that.
Jack was the Busselton Trotting Club delegate to the South West District Trotting Council for more than 30 years including serving the SWDTC as its President for six years between 1979 and 1985. He then served as Secretary from 1985 until 2001.
Jack's service to his beloved Busselton Trotting Club and harness racing in the South West saw him made a Life Member of the Club, the South West Districts Trotting Council and the WA Country Trotting Council.
In 1992 Jack was presented with the industry's highest accolade the James Brennan Award by the WA Trotting Association in recognition of his outstanding contribution to country harness racing in Western Australia.
Jack saw his beloved Busselton Trotting Club, to which he gave more than 60 years of continuous service, grow into the State's most prosperous country club however Jack wasn't content with contributing solely to harness racing.
Jack served 18 years as a Shire Councillor in Busselton including six years as its President, was Chairman of the Busselton Water Board for six years, a Scoutmaster for 12 years and was made a Life Member of the Busselton Senior Citizen's Centre for his work in getting that body up and running.
Jack Sheedy was married to Sylvia for almost 62 years and they have three children in Chris, Paul and Dawn. The funeral will be held in Busselton early next week.
by Alan PARKER